The thought of getting laid off in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile is paralyzing and one that you would be forgiven for shying away from facing. As difficult as it is to face, you have to face it to be able to make contingencies that will allow you to hopefully survive the difficult times ahead. Here are some common signs you’re about to be laid off or fired.
Are things volatile in your company? You know, ever-changing roles and responsibilities, constantly changing company priorities and agenda and a revolving door of workers leaving and others being hired. Other workers constantly leaving especially if they are top management could be an indication that your turn is coming up. If your company has actively been laying off people, you should prepare yourself. Also, be concerned if your boss and others especially at the top are constantly talking about looking for jobs and going to interviews.
Boss is standoffish
Supervisors and bosses are people too, so if they realize they have to let you go, they may introduce some distance between you. This is especially true if your boss was previously friendly and now, they have cut off all contact or is withdrawn. This sign was repeatedly cited by many people who got laid off. In some cases, it’s not just the bosses who become distant, dismissive, or hostile but also other colleagues in the know. People have bad days, but if you notice a sustained, consistent shift in people’s attitude toward you and treatment of you, there may be something there.
Most people wish they had less work assigned to them, but if you find your workload is steadily, significantly dwindling, this may be a sign of trouble ahead. If you find that projects that were assigned to you have been reassigned or you’re being asked to train others to handle them or just delegate them all together without any replacement projects or tasks for your own in-tray, you may be about to get laid off. A related sign is you’re no longer included in meetings and email communications about things you were previously included in, your input or opinions are no longer solicited where they once were. Another reason your workload could be dwindling is a decrease in revenue-generating work which puts the company’s and your income at risk.
Big projects put on hold
When a big project that was billed as critical to the company’s success is suddenly dropped, this may be an indication that all is not well. This is especially the case if there’s no clear communication for the change and the project is related to your department or job function. Also, a shift from long-term goals to an exclusive focus on short-term action items could be a sign you stand to lose your job. A related sign is less spending on non-essential office items such as office supplies, stationery, travel, and snacks. This cutting back on spending is a huge sign.
Poor performance reviews
If you’ve been getting consistently poor performance reviews, your job may be in danger. Related to this is if you used to get praised for your work but now can’t remember the last time your boss said, “good job,” you may be at risk of getting fired. This is especially worrying if you are a relatively expensive worker. Having a high salary makes you an easy target for cost-cutting measures.
Whispers and all-employee meetings
If there are whispers and rumours about impending layoffs, there may be something there. If there’s an emergency all-employee meeting scheduled, it’s almost certain. Rumours about the company’s financial trouble are always worth paying attention to.
The arrival of consultants almost always leads to layoffs. This is in reference to the types of consultants who ask you to explain what it is exactly you do for the organization and what value you add, all in an attempt to streamline the company and eliminate redundancies.
Sales and mergers
When companies are sold or merge with another company, people always get laid off. If there are rumours of a potential sale or a merger, layoffs are a certainty, and you should prepare yourself.
If your gut tells you there’s cause to be alarmed, maybe there is and maybe it would be good for you to start planning accordingly. There’s often a feeling in the air, a tension that can’t be explained in the face of looming danger, don’t ignore it.
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